During a time of crisis when anxiety and uncertainty are high, it’s crucial to take steps to protect our mental and emotional health.
Sometimes, it’s the smallest steps that can make the biggest difference to our overall well-being.
For many, lockdown includes working from home. For some, that means curling up on the couch, laptop and coffee in hand, wearing your favourite tracksuit or even onesie.
That said, sitting in your PJs all day might not be in your best interest in the long run – especially if the lockdown continues longer than anticipated.
We asked the team from Image Innovators SA, one of the country’s leading image consulting training companies, to explain why getting up and getting dressed is one of the best things you can do over the next few weeks.
The power of routine
Now that we’re in lockdown, maintaining a routine is essential to preserving some semblance of normal life and staying sane. A big part of that routine is making sure you wake up at a consistent time and getting dressed. Feeling put together gives you a sense of control over your life and helps create discipline in a chaotic environment.
“For me, getting up in the morning requires a bit of encouragement,” explains Kyla Blackwood-Murray, Image Innovators SA’s owner. “A cup of tea is my incentive to get out of bed, and then I can function. Putting on my makeup (in bed, I might add) is next on my routine so that I am ready for anything the world throws my way.”
Dress for success
If you’re new to working from home, you might be finding it difficult to stay focused and productive in a space that you associate with downtime and rest. Changing out of your PJs and into a “work” outfit (i.e. not sweat pants and a stained T-shirt!) draws a line between work and life, which helps get you into the right head space.
As you put this routine into practice you will be conditioned to subconsciously associate getting dressed with work, encouraging alertness and focus before you’ve even opened up your laptop! Putting on work-appropriate clothing also promotes a professional attitude, and acts as a visual reminder of your commitment to getting work done.
Look good, feel good
One of our top priorities during this period of isolation should be our well-being. Feeling good on the inside also depends on how you feel on the outside. It’s a simple concept, but it’s true. If you stay in your sweats all day or don’t put any effort into your appearance, you may find yourself feeling lazy and unmotivated, which can lead to depression.
“Looking good not only incentivises your outlook on your day, but it also encourages others to do the same,” says Blackwood-Murray. “So let the effort you put into your appearance inspire those around you physically or virtually to up their game.”
Get up, dress up, show up (online!)
Even though we can’t meet up in person, technology gives us the opportunity to be face-to-face with people virtually. Skype calls, video chats, live social media, Zoom conferences: the longer this pandemic endures, the more we’ll need to get used to these methods of communicating with customers, clients and colleagues.
“We talk about the dreaded first impression,” she explains.
“We only have one chance to make that one and only first appearance. Your clothes literally walk into a room, announce who you are and introduce you before you’ve had a chance to open your mouth.”
The same is true when you’re meeting or interacting with someone online, and while they may only see you from the shoulders up, it’s super important that the first impression they get of you is one they remember for the right reasons.
“I always believe that when you look good, you hold yourself more upright, sit with pride, look people in the eye, speak with confidence and your heart doesn’t jump out of your chest from nerves – both online and offline,” she concludes.
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